What FOMO really is and how to manage it

posted in: Inquiry | 0

FOMO; the first time I heard that term I literally had to Google it.  FOMO is short for Fear Of Missing Out and, sadly, it’s turned into one of our greatest thieves.  It steals our focus, our calm, our energy, and our time.  Luckily, you can learn to manage this fear by getting in touch with what’s really driving your thoughts and actions so you can start ratcheting down your fear and regain your precious time and energy.


FOMO is a fear of being judged

One of the driving forces behind FOMO is a fear of being judged.  If you don’t keep up with everything you’re “supposed to”, you fear others may judge you as being out of the loop or “uncool.”  The problem, which in turn can be thought of as a great blessing is, what you’re supposed to keep up with is 100% solely determined by you.  Instead of worrying about being left behind or judged, try keeping up on a common interest by engaging in conversation with someone.  Ask them the latest on a topic and see how you can form a connection with them.


FOMO is a fear of getting to know yourself

By using time and energy trying to keep up with an ever growing list of “should keep up with” items, you’re in essence robbing yourself of time and energy you could be spending getting to know the most important person of all – yourself.  The more obsessed you are with what’s going on in the external world, the more you’re neglecting what’s going on in your internal world, the world where you determine your values, perspective, priorities, and your own guidance system.  The more you let the outside world define you, the less opportunity you have to discover, develop, and use your own gifts and talents to help yourself and others.  Take time each day to unplug, tap in, and connect with who you are, how you’re unique, and how you can use that uniqueness to help others.


FOMO is a fear of commitment

Continuous distraction in our modern world results in an inability to commit: to ourselves, to others, and to anything that requires focus and a long term perspective.  This constant chasing stems from a fear of commitment because commitment means that you’ve said yes, and when you say yes to something, you automatically are saying no to something else.  Saying no ultimately means you will miss out on things.  Commitment means you’ve made a choice and by making a choice you’ve started down a path, sometimes alone.  If you’re afraid of committing to something, take some time to reflect on what you’re ultimately saying yes and no to, on a deep level, and then make the leap.  Write down your yes and no’s and refer back to them as your guide when things get challenging.


FOMO is a fear of abandonment

At its core, FOMO is a fear of abandonment.  It is a fear that if we don’t keep up, we are abandoning things that may be valuable to us.  It is also a deep fear that we will be abandoned by others.  We all need to feel as though we belong; we need to feel as though we’re part of a group and crucially, are cared about and valued by that group.  We fear that if we don’t keep up with certain things, our group – our cherished tribe, – will not only judge us, but ultimately ostracize us.  This is why it’s so important to take the time to get to know yourself.  If you know who you are at a deep level, you will realize two things:  once you know what’s valuable to you, it is your choice whether you abandon following those things, and, that you are the only person who can abandon yourself.  It can be excruciatingly painful to be abandoned by others but it is always your choice whether you abandon yourself.


Managing Fear Of Missing Out can be a lifelong process.  It’s important to remember that though the amount of information competing for our attention is constantly increasing, you are the one who decides what is important and what is deserving of your time.  By taking the time to form a strong sense of self, viewing common interests as opportunities to connect with others, and understanding deep down that your self-worth is first and foremost determine by you, you can lessen your fears and focus on what matters most in your life.